One of the keys to improving the visibility of your website with search engine optimization (SEO) is to use the right set of keywords. Keywords are the short phrases or word combinations that capture the essence of what people are looking for when they perform a search on Google, Bing or any other search engine. But, it can be hard to know where to start to find the right keywords for your website. If you have never optimized your site, researching and finding your keywords is a worthwhile exercise. Here are five steps you can take in a systematic approach to find the right keywords.
Check Out Your Competitors
Some of the best sources of keywords are your competitor’s websites. Take a look and get a feel for how they talk about their business. Look for phrases that occur most frequently and that describe their products or services well. Decide how their web copy compares to yours, and make a note of the keywords you find if you believe they are relevant. However, while your competitors may be doing SEO well, there’s also a chance that they are not. So, treat what you find on other websites as potentially good information. But there is still more work to be done.
Talk to Your Customers
Your customers already found you, which makes them a good source of information on how others can too. Make it a habit to ask customers how they found you, and even ask specifically what they searched. This will give you a better understanding of the buying process and the steps that led to becoming a customer.
List Your Topics and Personas
Next, it is time to start organizing your thoughts around groups of keywords. Make a list of the main subject areas that are important to your business. These could include products, services, brand names, competitive products and brands, and industries. Also, list important buyer personas. For example, if you sell pet supplies, important personas would be dog lovers, cat lovers, and reptile enthusiasts. These broad categories allow you to be thorough in your selection of keywords and to avoid repetition.
Seed Your Categories with Keywords
Now that you have your categories, you can begin adding keywords to those buckets. Think like a customer to develop keywords they would use – not only what you want them to search. Think about complementary products and services and how those might lead to customers finding your business to fill their needs. Strike a balance between short, broad keywords (dog grooming, cat toys, pet supplies) and more specific longtail keywords (small dog grooming service, cat toys for weight loss, pet supplies near me). Longtail keywords are searched less often than broad keywords but also have less competition to make achieving a good ranking easier. However, there is a point at which longtail keywords are too long. As a general rule, phrases of three to five works work best.
Rinse and Repeat to Find the Right Keywords
SEO is an ongoing process that needs frequent attention. For it to work well, keywords should be checked and refined periodically by adding new ones and removing the poor performers. Online tools like SEOProfiler, SEMRush and Ahrefs can show you how your website ranks for keywords and help research to find the right keywords. Even if you don’t have access to an SEO tool, Google Analytics can show you what keywords drive traffic to your website. Google Ads keyword planner gives some insight into search volumes and competition.
Set aside time every few weeks to review and iterate on your keywords and use them in all of your web and social media content.
Find the right keywords for SEO because if people can’t find your website, they may never learn about your business. It takes time to research, ideate, and create a cohesive list, but it is well worth the effort. Better yet, engage an SEO expert to develop and execute your SEO strategy. Share as much information as possible on your customers, competitors, and products to help them get a head start.
With a strong set of keywords and an expert on the job of continually improving the visibility of your website, you can focus more of your time on other aspects of your business.
Get in touch with us to discuss how we can help your business be more visible to potential customers with a high-impact SEO program.
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